Letters to the Editor

Children shouldn’t need to be shielded

Dear Editor:

Why can’t parents teach their children anything? In Shiloh, Ill., a couple protested the book And Tango Makes Three (a book about gay penguins keeping a child and having a family) in the children’s section of the library, arguing that children weren’t of an age to understand or discuss homosexuality. What age can we understand homosexuality at? I didn’t understand it until college, whenÿI was on the misappropriated end of homophobia (it’s really inappropriate anywhere).

It’s really rather simple to help a child understand homosexuality: “Sweety, I’d like to tell you about something. You know how your mom and I love you very much, and how we are different physically because she is a woman and I am a man. And you know how men and women have children just like you, and we love them and take care of them as best we can. Well, I want you to know that there are other kinds of parents in the world who aren’t a man and a woman together, they’re called same-sex couples. Have you heard anything about them? Same-sex couples are made up of either two moms or two dads – one isn’t better than the other – but just like mom and me, they love their children very much, and do all the things for their children that mom and I do for you. Even though a same-sex couple can’t have children in the same way people like mom and I can, they can find children who don’t have families and adopt them to make them their children. I’m sure some of your friends might have two moms or two dads, and I hope that you are just as nice to them as mom and I taught you to be. And if you want to talk about it more, you just have to ask us.”

It would take about five minutes to go through that and would save parents the trouble of protesting books about gay penguins. We have a weird notion of what is moral to teach children. If your mother is mean, move out and live with a bunch of men, doing housework and cooking until the right man comes along (Snow White). If a child is lost, three males can take care of it just as well as a normal couple (no, not Three Men and a Baby or “Full House,” but Ice Age). If you love your daddy and your country, thenÿdress in drag and join the army (Mulan). The list goes on.

In spite of these films, there are parents who still don’t want their children reading books that at least take a clearer stand. The literacy level of our nation’s children has declined, and we’re trying to keep them from reading about complex issues at a young age? If kids are helped to understand these things at a younger age, wouldn’t the product be a smarter, well rounded child? There’s protection and sheltering, and then there’s laziness in explaining things to your child. A child has no concept of sexuality, but they do know about moms and dads. It’s not necessarily going to make them into a homosexual to understand homosexual couples. Just like how understanding Nazis and Muslims and drug dealers doesn’t turn kids into any of the above.

We’ve had the issue of what we can and can’t teach kids for decades now and it’s getting ridiculous. Parents, explain the female breast to your children, talk about gay couples and tell them about people of different religious backgrounds. It’s not that difficult if you speak about what you truly know and understand that they probably have picked up a lot about it already.

The time has come to stop trying to put blinders on our children’s heads and to start helping them understand the things they are discovering.

Karl Hopkins-Lutz

Senior German major